Week 11: July 16, 2014

In this week’s box:

2 pints blueberries

1 dozen eggs

2 dozen ears corn

1 flat peaches

2 bags tomatoes

1 bag cucumbers

1 bag yellow squash

1 bag zucchini

1 bouquet **OPTIONAL BONUS** pick-your-own sunflowers, 8 a.m. until 6 p.m.

4 half-pints **OPTIONAL BONUS** pick-your-own raspberries 8 a.m. until noon

4 half-pints **OPTIONAL BONUS** pick-your-own raspberries on July 20, noon until 3 p.m.

Total retail value of goods in this week’s box: $95

Total retail value of goods distributed so far this year: $748.50

Emily’s notes

When I start to see tomatoes and cucumbers in the summer, I always think of gazpacho. Summer in a bowl (or cup), gazpacho is one of the easiest soups you’ll ever make, and it’s perfect for these hot days, because there is absolutely no heat involved (unless you choose to add some hot peppers, which are nice). Let’s think of gazpacho this week not as one single recipe to be followed in exact detail, but as a concept that will allow you to use your summer vegetables with ease in your kitchen. Here are several ideas to work from:

– Traditional gazpacho – When I studied in southern Spain, people would drink this almost as a beverage at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s refreshing and a delicious way to consume vegetables. If you are trying to cook as much as possible with only things from your CSA box, I would place 4 tomatoes, 1 peeled cucumber, one of the smaller onions leftover from last week, if you have one (if not, add scallions, a garlic clove or red onion), salt, pepper, olive oil and a splash of red wine vinegar to a food processor or blender (all the vegetables should be cut into chunks that this equipment can handle). Whir them all together and adjust for seasonings, then chill for a few hours before serving. I would consider adding fresh corn kernels and a dollop of sour cream when serving. Garden herbs including basil, chives and parsley also make a nice addition. Now, if you want a really nice recipe that really mimics the gazpacho I remember from Spain, try this one. The bread adds a nice thickness and body to the soup.

– Gazpacho with fruit – Don’t forget that peaches can be a great addition to savory dishes, including gazpacho. Try this recipe from Epicurious for Peach and Tomato Gazpacho.

– Deconstructed gazpacho – You could make endless summer salads by chopping tomatoes, cucumbers and other summer vegetables and throwing them in a bowl with olive oil, seasonings and maybe a little cheese. The New York Times offers this recipe for Tomato, Cucumber and Corn salad. I say who needs a recipe? If you have good vegetables on-hand, experiment with different combinations of no-cook side dishes like this. Squash and zucchini can be used raw if sliced thinly enough. Or grill them and mix with your raw ingredients for a hot-cold salad with great texture.

The August issue of Better Homes and Gardens has a great spread on recipes for corn, green beans and squash. A few that caught my eye (Note: Their website will ask you to enter your e-mail address and create a password to see these.):

Tomato-Topped Corn and Feta Casserole

Garlicky Zucchini Noodles

Peaches and blueberries are a great combination. Take the recipe I shared in this post last year for peach and blackberry crisp and sub in blueberries instead. Don’t forget the vanilla ice cream! When you’re slicing those peaches, it probably helps to know that this week’s peaches are clingstones, meaning the flesh clings to the pit inside. Clingstones ripen earlier than freestone peaches, which you can expect to see in the coming weeks. The fact that they are somewhat harder to separate from the pit and slice is all the more reason to eat them bite by bite standing over the sink!

Do you have great summer vegetable recipes you’d like to share with the group? E-mail me and let me know!

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Week 8: June 25, 2014

In this week’s box:

3 half-pints raspberries

2 half-pints black raspberries

1 dozen eggs

1 bulb fennel with fronds

2 bags red new potatoes

2 bunches spring onions

2 bags green beans

2 heads cabbage

1 bag zucchini

1 bag yellow squash

**OPTIONAL BONUS** up to 4 half-pints pick-your-own raspberries, between 9 a.m. and noon, CSA members only.

Total retail value of goods distributed this week: $54.50

Total retail value of goods distributed so far this season: $529.50

Emily’s notes

With both green beans and potatoes in this week’s box, I highly recommend this recipe I shared last year for Southern-style green beans and new potatoes. It’s a good reminder that bacon makes everything better.

With spring onions and cabbage, I will definitely be making this recipe for cabbage salad with ramen noodles. It works just as well with regular cabbage as with the Napa cabbage called for in the recipe. I find it’s best to use a food processor to shred the cabbage if you have one.

What to do with fennel? You could slice it very thinly and toss it with thinly sliced apples and some of the chopped greens from the spring onions, along with a vinaigrette made with apple cider vinegar, some walnuts and blue cheese for a cool summer salad. I would also finely chop some of the green fronds from atop the fennel bulb to add to this. Some folks don’t like raw fennel, though, and in that case, I would just toss it with olive oil, salt, pepper and minced garlic and throw it on the grill or into a 450-degree oven to roast until tender. It becomes sweeter and a bit less licorice-tasting when cooked.

Looking for a new way to serve zucchini and squash? I always love the way the Bavarian Chef in downtown Fredericksburg treats these vegetables. Try mixing green and yellow squash in this recipe from The Kitchn for Potato, Squash and Zucchini Gratin with Goat Cheese. I am always hesitant about gratins, because so many recipes seem to call for enough cream to cancel out all the virtue of the vegetables, but I like that this one is much lighter, and very easy to pull together with this week’s box!

I would also recommend substituting 1-2 shredded yellow squash for the carrots called for in this recipe for Healthy Morning Muffins from Martha Stewart. Please share your favorite summer squash and zucchini recipes if you have them!